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Tahini Frappuccino

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Living in New York, I feel like we spend all winter counting down the weeks till summer. The bone-chilling days seem to stretch on way past their intended season, and by the time the spring comes, we’re ready to rid our closets of all those layers. Except when spring comes, it’s not quite warm enough to do that. So we spend the season wearing our summer clothes, shivering in the chilly mornings, and then again in the almost-winter-again evenings. By the time summer comes, we’re so happy to let the hot sun warm our bones – for a day. Or two. And then we’re kvetching again, wishing winter would come cool us off!

OK maybe it’s not all New Yorkers, but it’s definitely ME. I cannot tolerate the heat. This week of 90+ degrees has been torture for me – I thought I’d melt onto the sidewalk! My only reprieve from the torturous weather is a giant cup of iced coffee. Iced coffee literally saves my sanity all summer long and it’s not even about the caffeine – I only drink decaf!

My biggest obstacle in my iced coffee making is the sweetener (and the fact that I suck at making coffee, but that’s another story!). I obviously don’t want to sweeten it with real sugar, ‘cuz calories :) And I don’t like using Splenda, because, chemicals. I’m not a fan of the natural stuff like Stevia, and I recently gave Monk fruit sugar a try, but also, gross. So what’s left?

When I did my Whole30 a while back (actually it was three rounds so make that Whole90), I used to sweeten my coffee with a single medjool date. I’d add coffee ice cubes, so they wouldn’t water my coffee down, and creamy full fat coconut milk because the cleanse is dairy-free (otherwise I’m all for half and half!). It was some of the best coffee I’ve ever had and it was Paleo approved.

My date-sweetened coffee got me thinking of how I could turn my favorite summer drink into a healthy frappuccino and of course I went in the tahini direction. I love using tahini in sweet applications – with the addition of silan, cinnamon and vanilla, it tastes like halva without all the added sugar. The result is a smooth and creamy coffee shake that’s refreshing and oh. so. delicious. Perfect for every season – but especially summer.

Stay cool out there!

Related Recipes:

tahini date smoothie
banana date milk & honey smoothie

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Donut Milkshakes

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

OMG OMG OMG OMG!! Should I even talk right now or do these insane milk shakes just do it for you?! Chanukah is coming and on Chanukah we DONT. COUNT. CALORIES. Ok????? And because we don’t count calories, I had to put a holiday spin on one of the huge food trends right now – over the top milkshakes! I don’t know if you’ve seen these gazillion-calorie monstrosities but they are insane. Milkshakes topped with pieces of cake and candy, with more candy glued to the glass and just tons of junk everywhere.

It says a lot about the state of our health when restaurants are actually serving that stuff, and when people are actually ordering it, but for these 8 DAYS, we are going to have some crazy fun, donut milkshakes included. Believe me, I would never make this stuff on a regular day. Not even my birthday. But my birthday is on Chanukah so YAAAAYYYY!! I’ve put together two variations, based on the two most popular Chanukah donuts – custard donuts with chocolate glaze and jelly filled donuts with powdered sugar. Of course nowadays you can find a bunch of other flavors, but these are the classics we grew up on. Milkshakes are about nostalgia too, especially for me, as we had a real milkshake machine growing up. Not a blender. A milkshake machine. It came with a stainless steel cup that you hooked onto this machine. A stick with a blade would break up the mixture and you had a real frothy milkshake! My brother would take it out on Saturday nights and make himself a huge shake with his pizza. Memories! And who can forget being young and biting into a huge jelly or custard donut and licking out the filling with your tongue? These shakes mix the best of both worlds and I hope they bring up some fun childhood memories for you too!

 

 

Related Recipes:

jelly ring donuts
deconstructed jelly donut pancakes

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Maple Lemonade

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

I’ve got a budding entrepreneur on my hands! My oldest daughter has been dreaming up business ideas since she was four. At nine, she’s already lined up her classmates to work in her salon (which she named, “Make It Up”) and she’s been saving up her Chanukah gelt for years! Entrepreneurial spirit is definitely in the genes, so it’s no surprise that she’s so business-minded.

When the weather starts to warm up, my little businesswoman starts dreaming up her lemonade-stand strategy. This year, she decided to sell brownies and saltwater taffy in addition to watermelon lemonade. Pink lemonade is always a good seller with the kids, and it’s so much fun to watch their faces when they take their first sip. We’ve done watermelon limeade before, so we went with lemonade this time. I made some chewy brownies with colored sprinkles and we headed to the Bay Parkway waterfront to set up our stand. It was such fun to watch my daughter in action! She would light up with every customer, and she took each sale so seriously. The passersby were so impressed! She netted $30.75 profit, which she put aside with all her savings, after tipping her sister $5 for helping.

My kids are huge lemonade fans, and not just for selling. Our absolute favorite recipe is one that I tasted at one of Levana Kirschenbaum’s cooking demo’s. She actually made it for my kid’s camp last year and I’ve been making it ever since. Traditionally, lemonade is made by making a syrup out of sugar and water, but with Levana’s maple version, there’s no need for that! I also love that the maple syrup is a natural sweetener, so it’s healthier than the traditional. Thanks to Levana for allowing me to share this recipe with you all!


Related Recipes:

strawberry limonana
watermelon limeade
cherry basil limonana

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Gelt Hot Chocolate

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

I’m super excited for this Chanukah blog post because WE’RE HAVIN’ A PARTY! Albeit a virtual one, but we can still have fun, right?! And all parties have to have prizes, so there’s a great GIVEAWAY too!

I got together with a few other bloggers to create a virtual menu and I was assigned the drinks. Now when I think of Chanukah, I imagine sitting by the lights of the Menorah, snuggled up under a warm blanket, sipping hot chocolate and singing Chanukah songs. The kids are around me playing draidel (ok, fighting over draidel), and my husband is frying latkes in the kitchen. Yes, Chanukah is just about the only time I let him take over and make a mess! He learned to make perfect crispy fried latkes when he was in Yeshiva in Israel and I don’t mind getting a little break from cooking so the kitchen’s all his (for at least a night..or two).

While hubby hosts a fryfest, I like to mix up a warm drink – some mulled wine, spiced apple cider, or gelt hot chocolate, obviously. I came up with this fun Chanukah version of hot chocolate based on a drink that my friends and I used to order at a place called Cafe K, back in the old days. Cafe K is still around, and they might still serve it! It was called “Torino Hot Chocolate”, after the chocolate bar that was used to make it. They’d take a whole bar of this chocolate and pour hot milk over it, and that was it! It was a dreamy confection and we’d save up our calories to splurge on it in the winter. It would warm us up from the inside out and we’d relish each and every sip!

I thought it would be fun to do the same with some chocolate Chanukah gelt! It makes a great party drink – just put out a vase filled with chocolate gelt, an urn of hot milk, and an endless selection of toppings and you’ve got yourself an amazing hot chocolate bar that will be the talk of  your Chanukah party!

And now for the rest of our virtual party menu, check out the mouthwatering dishes from these talented bloggers:

Appetizer:  Turkish Lentil Soup by Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
MainRoasted Jalapeno and Cheddar Strata by Melinda from Kitchen Tested
Side: Mac and Cheese Latkes by Miriam from OvertimeCook
Dessert: Deep Fried Rugelach by Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat

And now for the exciting part – the prizes! We’re giving away 2 separate packages – a cookbook package sponsored by Artscroll and a Gourmet Kosher Foodie Package sponsored by Nomoo cookies and California Gourmet. Enter to win below. Happy Chanukah!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Festive Hot Drinks: Mulled Wine
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Passion Fruit Cream Cornucopias + a Coolada

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Being a food blogger has awarded me such amazing possibilities! Getting a chance to work with some amazing kosher products is one of them!

When I was approached about working with Morad’s amazing Danue line of fruit flavored wines, I was all over it! We’re talking sweet fruity flavors like pomegranate, lychee and passion fruit – oh my! Have I ever told you how much I adore passion fruit?

Passion fruit is not exactly readily attainable in New York. Case in point: I actually forked out a whopping $3.99 for ONE little round one to make the blessing of a new fruit (Shehechiyanu) on the Jewish New Year. I think that puts me at about $1.00 per seed. Still, I wanted to splurge on my favorite exotic fruit for the holiday – so I went all out. I’m thinking it’s time for another trip to Aussie, where they sell passion fruits like apples, to hoard up on the sweet and tangy delicate fruit.

When I heard that Morad had a passion fruit flavored wine in their collection – I was beyond excited to work with it! I wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s Morad’s best seller – who wouldn’t want alcohol that’s infused with the fruity goodness of passion fruits, hello?!

I set out to make the most of my passion fruit wine with both a cocktail and a dessert that would celebrate it’s exotic appeal. First…the dessert. To highlight the holiday of Succot – a time when we celebrate the overflowing harvest – I decided to go with a twist on the classic cream horn. The cream horn resembles a cornucopia; horn of plenty, that is a symbol of abundance. You’ll find cornucopia’s pouring forth with produce – especially around Thanksgiving time, making this dessert all the more appropriate.

Now I doubt you’ve ever seen a cornucopia filled with passion fruit cream – that is thanks to Morad’s amazing wine that I reduced down into a syrup which I used to spike the pastry cream. And not just any pastry cream. To keep it dairy free, I made the classic french custard with coconut milk, to highlight the tropical feel. My husband is a huge fan of custard-based desserts, so I couldn’t wait for him to be my taste tester when he got home from work. The man sure knows his pastry cream! Well let me tell you guys…one lick of the stuff and he said it was the best custard he’d ever had! I used the leftovers to make him a classic napoleon and he licked his fingers down to the last crumb. I’d call that a success! :)

As for the cornucopia’s themselves? Don’t be overwhelmed by their cuteness – these babies are such a breeze to make! All you need are some cream horn molds and frozen puff pastry and they’re done in under 15 minutes. Let me tell you – I’m not one for these involved pastry type of things, but they were truly super easy! Just MAKE SURE you lightly grease you molds before applying the puff pastry. Ask me how I know.

And don’t worry, if you can’t get your hands on the pastry molds in time for Succot, you can always wrap some sugar cones in foil and use those instead. They’ll be larger than traditional horns – but that just means more passion fruit cream for you!

To get the recipe for these passion fruit cream cornucopias, head on over to Joy of Kosher!

Now that we have our dessert all set, we’re onto the cocktail! I mean, you gotta have a cocktail right? Especially on Succot! To highlight the exotic passion fruit in this spiked smoothie, I decided to do a riff on the classic Pina Colada by using Morad Passion Fruit wine instead of rum. You can add the ice for a delicious slushy, or keep things light with a cocktail, sans ice. Either way, this fruity, creamy and lets face it – dreamy – cocktail is a winner!

To get the recipe for the Passion Fruit Colada, head on over to Joy of Kosher

Thanks to Morad Wineries for the opportunity to work with their delicious fruity wine, and for sponsoring this post! I’m off to finish the bottle!

Other Fruity Cocktails:

The Hamantini
Whiskey Cider
Sangria

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Cherry Basil Limonana

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

If you’ve never tried limonana, you’re missing out on an amazing drink! The traditional thirst-quencher is made by mixing lemonade with lots of fresh mint and ice – for a refreshing summer treat.

But you know me – I can never just do classic. OK, maybe I can – but I still love putting my own twist on things. That’s how my strawberry limonana happened.

This year, I decided to try using my new herb obsession – basil! I’m putting it in salads, stuffing it into sandwiches, and now, even drinks! Strawberry-basil is a classic combination, but it works amazing with cherries too!

I love the idea of adding fresh fruit to my lemonade, but if you’re not fond of having bits of cherries in your drink – check out my variation for an infused version instead!

 

Other Summer Drinks:

strawberry limonana
watermelon limeade
tropical fruit smoothie

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The Hamantini

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Purim has got to be every child’s favorite day of the year (and every dentists worse nightmare!). They get to dress up like princesses, go house hopping with their friends and amass an unconscionable amount of candy. It’s quite literally a kids dream come true.

But for the parents of those kids? Maybe not so much. First you got the weeks leading up to Purim where you have to wrack your brain for that perfect shalach manos gift basket. Not to mention all the kiddies, and their teachers, principals, therapists and bus drivers. It’s no wonder by the time Purim comes around, we’re meant to drink up until we don’t know the different between Haman & Mordechai.

And then you got Purim day where you’re up at an ungodly hour to dress all the kids in their Purim costumes, barely make it for Megillah reading, and run about town taking each of your kids to their list of friends, not to mention your family and friends. By the time you sit down for the Purim meal, you need a stiff drink! Enter: THE HAMANTINI, a riff on the classic Purim cookie – hamantaschen.

The 3-cornered hamantasch is customarily eaten on Purim because it resembles Haman’s hat. For more on that story, read this holiday guide. Hamantaschen are traditionally made with raspberry or apricot jam – both of which I have incorporated into my Hamantini cocktails.

For my Raspberry Hamantini, I went straight for my favorite drink of all time – Raspberry Snapple. A shot of vodka and some raspberry jam simple syrup offer a serious raspberry experience with just the right amount of buzz. Of course, the rim of the glass is dipped in raspberry jam syrup and raspberry hamantasch cookie crumbs – making The Raspberry Hamantini a most befitting name!

If raspberry is not your flavor, give The Apricot Hamantini a try. With apricot nectar, dark rum and apricot jam simple syrup, you’ll be in apricot heaven! Of course the rim of this cocktail glass is also dipped in apricot jam simple syrup and finished in apricot hamantasch cookie crumbs for a festive finish. Apricot euphoria in a glass, if I may.

While I’m no mixologist, I had so much fun creating these festive cocktails! I found some great stuff hiding in my liquor cabinet, and I can’t wait to whip out my shot glasses come Purim. I make quite a fun drunk, I must say. So if you see me around and I’m a wee bit tipsy, you’ll can blame it all on Haman and his three-cornered hat.

So as the day dwindles down, and the kiddies collapse all shmeared in makeup and chocolate, whip out your martini glasses and let the real fun begin!


Pick the flavor that suits your fancy – Raspberry or Apricot (or both!)- and drink up and be merry! Happy Purim!

Other Cocktail Recipes:

whiskey cider
3 layer chocolate cake martini

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In honor of Purim, the Kosher Connection is having a cocktail linkup party! Read on for more great cocktail recipes and ideas!


Pear Ginger & Oat Smoothie

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

I’m always so inspired when I see people posting pics of their green detox smoothies and drinks. It makes me want to go out and buy a juicer. Today, my sister in law took me to an amazing smoothie bar on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. They make a mixture called Thank God Juice which includes a combination of spinach, kale, collard greens, parsley, celery, fennel and romaine. You can add Thank G-d juice to any other juice flavors, or drink it straight-up. I’m the type that needs to hide the greens in my smoothies so I added apple, beet and carrot juice.

Since I don’t yet have a juicer, blended smoothies are all I can make – but they can be just as healthy and delicious! I love adding oats to my smoothies – they turn a fruity drink into an all out breakfast. Ginger adds great flavor and brightness, not to mention various health benefits.

What are some of your favorite juice or smoothie combinations? Share it with me in the comments below!

Other Smoothie Drinks:

pumpkin pie smoothie
tropical fruit smoothie
persimmon yogurt smoothie
banana, dates, milk & honey smoothie

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

With pumpkin season in full swing, my foodie feeds are overflowing with sweet pumpkin recipes. And I can’t get enough. I bookmark one recipe after another, promising myself to try every one. But truth be told, I’ve been too busy developing pumpkin recipes of my own. I’ve got pumpkin ricotta pancakes with cranberry maple syrup in the works. And then there’s a mouthwatering pumpkin pot pie that’s coming up.

All my pumpkin playing left me with some extra canned pumpkin that I refused to throw away, so I decided to whip it up into a delicious pumpkin pie smoothie. It came out even better than expected – with the taste of a milkshake, but the calories of a healthy smoothie. For all the pumpkin lovers out there – it doesn’t get better, quicker, or easier than this!

 

Other BIB pumpkin recipes:

pumpkin whoopie pies 
pumpkin cake
pumpkin crisp
pumpkin banana bread
baked pumpkin oatmeal

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Whiskey Cider

Monday, September 16th, 2013

I’m really not much of a drinker. At all. I can appreciate a nice glass of red wine, but cocktails? I haven’t the faintest clue where to start. The first real cocktail I ever drank was a whiskey sour when I was dating my husband. It was sour all right. And strong. I didn’t hate it all that much and the buzz I got was kinda fun, but drinking is not really my thing.

When the Kosher Connection team decided on the theme “Spread the Joy” for the September link-up, the first thing that came to mind was inviting someone into my Sukkah to make a l’chaim (more on that later). Since whiskey sours are about the only drink I know how to make, I thought about how I could turn it into a sweeter version that celebrates the coming of fall. I decided to sub the sour element with a spiced apple cider syrup – reducing the cider with lots of  autumnesque spices. To get the real holiday buzz, I used equal amounts of whiskey and cider syrup, but if you want to go easy, you can serve the cider nice and warm (you don’t have to reduce it) and add just a splash of whiskey. Either way, you’ve got a delicious buzz-worthy cocktail to share!

First things first – what is a sukkah? A sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. If you’ve passed by a Jewish neighborhood, you may have seen them topped with branches and decorated with Judaic themes.

I grew up in Brooklyn, in a modest apartment on Eastern Parkway, just a stone’s throw away from the famous 770 synagogue, the central hub of the Chabad movement. Back in the day, The Grand Rebbe of Lubavitch would draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe, all hoping to be granted a meeting or blessing from him. Living so close to where the Rebbe & his congregants gathered, our Sukkah was a regular stop for family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on their way to the synagogue. As more and more people poured in to our small little hut, it seemed to stretch itself out to accomodate more than it’s physical space. L’chaim’s were poured in abundance as beautiful melodies poured fourth from it’s plastic walls.

My mom would pass her Yom Tov delicacies through the kitchen window, homemade meals of chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, sweet and sour tongue, yerushalmi kugel and other traditional foods which she made from scratch. The smells and tastes of the Chag come back to me each year, as the weather begins to herald the coming of fall, and the leaves begin to show their first signs of browning.

Sukkot is truly a joyous time. And not just because the mess gets left outside, and our homes are filled with delicious food and loving family. But because the emotionally taxing Days of Awe are behind us, and we are certain that we’ve all been inscribed for a happy and healthy year. It’s just the time to take out your shot glasses and spread the joy by inviting others into your humble hut to make a l’chaim.

As for me, I’ll be raising my glass to wonderful memories of a time when people from all walks of life, gathered in our family Sukkah to toast the New Year and all the good things it had in store. May the blessings abound, and may we all merit to raise our glasses to happy occasions!

Related Posts:

3 layer chocolate cake martini
mulled wine
sangria
mustache straws
how to decorate cocktail glasses with colored sugar

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